NEW DELHI : In its attempts to enhance road safety, the Ministry of Roads, Transport and Highways has issued air bag and electronic highway monitoring mandates as preventive measures to reduce traffic accidents.

In a written response to Rajya Sabha, Union Minister for MoRTH Nitin Gadkari informed the house that there was a downward trend in road accidents, fatalities and injuries from 2018 to 2020 .

The ministry has formulated a multi-pronged strategy to address the issue of road safety based on education, engineering (both roads and vehicles), enforcement and emergency care.

To effectively raise public awareness of road safety, the ministry has undertaken various publicity measures and road safety awareness campaigns through social media, electronic media and print media.

The ministry also implements a road safety promotion program to provide financial assistance to various agencies responsible for managing road safety promotion.

High priority has been given to identifying and rectifying black spots (accident prone spots) on the national road, the minister said in his response to Parkiament’s questions.

Road safety is an integral part of road design at the planning stage. Road safety audit of all road projects is made mandatory at all stages – design, construction, operation and maintenance.

Safety standards for automobiles are improved on airbags, anti-braking system (ABS), tires, crash tests, speed limit devices, compliance with alarm and fire protection, etc.

The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act 2019 provides for tough penalties to ensure strict compliance and enhance deterrence for breaches of traffic rules and strict enforcement through the use of technology. An issue of Guidelines for the Protection of Good Samaritans and Draft Rules under the MV (Amendment) Act 2019 is published.

The ministry issued a notification dated February 25, 2022 mandating the detailed road accident investigation procedure, the Detailed Accident Report (DAR) and its reports, as well as the deadlines for the various stakeholders, for prompt settlement of claims by the Automobile Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) .

In a written response to Rajya Sabha for a different question, Union Minister for MoRTH Nitin Gadkari informed the house that the ministry has made the requirement of driver’s airbag mandatory as per the standard of the automotive industry (AIS) 145.

Vehicles of category M1, manufactured after 1 October 2022, will be equipped with two side/torso side airbags, one each for occupants of the first row outer seating positions and two curtain/side tube airbags, one each for people occupying the outdoor seats. This has been notified to improve the safety of vehicle occupants.

The minister also briefed the chamber on the notification which provides for Electronic Monitoring and Traffic Safety Enforcement, which requires the state government to ensure that the appropriate electronic enforcement devices are placed in hallways at high risk and high density on national highways and state highways, and at critical junctions, at least in major cities with populations over 1 million.

The ministry has also defined the Blackspot identification protocol. The black spot of road accidents is a stretch of national road about 500 m long on which either 5 road accidents (over the three years cumulatively with death / serious injuries) have occurred in the last 3 calendar years or 10 deaths (in total three years combined) have occurred in the last 3 calendar years.

Based on traffic accident data collected by state government police departments and compiled by the Transportation Research Wing (TRW) of this department, black spots are identified to undertake immediate action to short-term mitigation and long-term measures for permanent rectification.

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